Article 35A: Browbeat of Kashmir mainstream won’t work
JAMMU: After Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said that nobody will be Tricolor bearer in Jammu and Kashmir if Article 35A is tinkered with, the former Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah has warned: “When it will come to that decision (abrogation of Article 35 A), you will see this mass (of people) rising. Do not forget when that Amarnath Yatra (land row) thing happened, people rose overnight. So, …35 A will be far greater revolt and I wonder whether they (government) will be able to hold that.”
Now, hold on Dr Farooq Abdullah and stop threatening. India has overcome the 2008 agitation and so has it lived with the uprising of 2010 when Omar Abdullah was the Chief Minister and 2016 under the present incumbent. Nothing has changed and nothing is going to change if hundreds of such agitations take place. Things have to move in Kashmir because enough is enough. Too much of pampering has left two sets of people in the Valley. One, who are thriving over the blood of their co-religionists at the behest of Pakistan and in the name of Jihad; and the other due to courtesy of power hungry pseudo-secular Indian politicians. The second lot of the people is more dangerous and venomous given their dubious character. They sing the tunes of New Delhi as long as they derive benefits and show their real face once denied loaves and likely to be shown the door. At end of the day, they are the same; be it Farooq Abdullah of National Conference, Mehbooba Mufti of PDP or Ghulam Ahmed Mir of the Congress.
Farooq Abdullah made an interesting revelation on Article 35A after holding the meeting of Kashmir Opposition. He said,”The need was to sit together and discuss the issue of Article 35-A because it affects the whole State Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. So, it is very important that the people understand as to why we are against the abrogation of Article 35-A, because it (government) wants to do away with our basic thing.”
By making a mention of Jammu into the controversy, let Farooq Abdullah recall what Omar Abdullah told in Lok Sabha in August 2008 on the termporary transfer of land to Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board for raising temporary facilities for the pilgrims, most of whom came from the Jammu region. Omar had said, “Woh hamari zameen ka muddha tha. Hum apni zameen ke liye ladhe. Aur hum marte dum tak apni zameen ke liye ladhenge!”. Therefore, Farooq Abdullah must remember that it is the ownership of movable and immovable property that is the basis of Article 35A. Had National Conference been sincere towards the people of Jammu they would not have made such provocative statements. The pilgrims were not going to settle down in Kashmir. They go there for a couple of days and have every right to have all kinds of facilities because Kashmir is integral part of India like Jammu and Ladakh regions. The Congress representatives sitting in the Farooq Abdullah’s Mahaghathbandhan on Article 35A should have taken into consideration sentiments of nearly five million Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists, if not patriotic secular Muslims, who don’t subscribe to what leaders like Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti threaten.
Farooq Abdullah is threatening 2008 type agitation if Article 35A is abrogated and in the same breath speaks about its benefits to Jammu and Ladakh regions. If he considers himself a leader of the State, which he is not, he must take note of louder voices emanating from Jammu against Article 35A. Under the banner of Jammu Citizens Forum, the intelligentsia vowed a day ahead of the Kashmir Mahaghatbandhan meet to support the abrogation of this proviso, which they feel is not actually part of the Constitution. The nationalist and patriotic people of Jammu feel that Article 35A encourages alienation and deepens the concept of a separate identity and creates a political gap between the State and the rest of India. Mehbooba Mufti should also remember that repealing of Article 35A will encourage millions of Indians in Jammu and Kashmir to keep the Tricolor aloft with a sense of reinvigorated pride.
The Kashmir centric politicians with vested interest must not undermine the spirit and sentiment of the people of Jammu. They must also understand that their commitment to national integration cannot be undermined by the threats of uprising or agitations. Such threats may not also help many of the so-called mainstream leaders who have lost their political space and personal credibility because of their dubious character.